25. Dunedin: Botanic Gardens & SARS

Tuesday, March 7: Sunny to begin with, but cold, later changeable with a couple of showers, strong winds in the afternoon

Mike’s

Waking time was a little closer to 8:00 this morning and since at least the sun was shining, even though it was a little chilly I decided that the Botanic Gardens, which are just opposite, might make a reasonable occupation for a couple of hours, as well as provide some opportunity for photography.

Headed for the aviary for the first stop but the cages were quite depressing, especially seeing kaka and kea all cooped up, as well as some of the more spectacular Australian and South American birds. After that the fare was more run of the mill, except that in the glasshouse I had to wait for a bit for the camera to warm up to the physical temperature as the lens was steaming up.

Back here I had to get a lesson plan out to Craig as well as check everything else. Mike suggested going to an art gallery, but my time was slowly seeping away and I wanted to have lunch in peace. There was also the slight issue of the wifi alternately offering nothing, no internet or some intermediate state and Mike suggested trying the living room, where everything seemed to work faster. First look at emails revealed that one shuttle company was not available in Nelson; Super Shuttle was unbookable “due demand”, which I take to mean “due to lack of demand”, and that left Jayride, which was offering a Super Shuttle ride for $22.8. Super Shuttle, if it had been directly bookable would have been $19, and via Jayride they get 10% less, or $17.1, as one very careless email revealed. Crazy. Eventually got iTunes to download the older podcasts that I hadn’t yet listened to (the trick was “edit playlist”, select the no longer locally saved episodes, click on “Podcasts” in the menu, then download, and they all appeared to download and synchronise with the device).

Had the last egg with ham on toasted bread for lunch. Most of the eggs had one small area of membrane-white fusion, probably due to the eggs touching the bottom of the pot while boiling, or even adding the cold water. In general their condition was not bad, except that, for the small eggs that I had bought, 9 minutes should be sufficient cooking time.

After changing into something a bit warmer (singlet as underwear, long trousers) I went for a leisurely stroll via the Science Communication Department, which had moved in the meantime, towards the clubs and societies building, which I reached @ 3:05, for my talk to SARS (the student Society of Atheists, Rationalists and Skeptics). Very soon Alice was there, followed by Nina, Rosanna and a few more whose names I couldn’t keep. After a break of 10 minutes past the due time I launched off & kept things going for about an hour, followed by questions and a longer discussion with one Ravitesh, a student of, guess what, Science Communication who was disappointed that I had not made an appearance there. I had cornered a can of sprite from some giveaways and Alice had given me a bar of fairtrade chocolate, but I still needed an evening meal and was undecided about where to go for pizza; but in the end I thought about at least having some lamb and so ended up @ Maxi Roast, 366 George St, for a medium lamb roast with potatoes, pumpkin, parsnip, a sprinkling of carrots & peas, gravy and mint sauce for $13. Wasn’t twice as much as I could handle, but at least it was a roast.

Was back here just after 7:00 and Mike arrived a short time later.